It is always a good thing when the final gavel drops in Montpelier and lawmakers head home for the summer. Late last week, the Vermont Legislature adjourned its 2022 session. It was a mixed bag for sure. Anti-gun politicians did their best to try and pass even more restrictions in one of the safest states in the country, affirming what we have always known. Gun control is about politics, not sound public policy.
Much of this session was again conducted on Zoom screens, out of the view of the public. Late in the session, things slowly started to transition back to in-person proceedings.
Much of the early session was consumed with S.30, which started out as a location restriction. It was amended multiple times, and the final version applied only to hospitals (prohibiting guns), but it did contain red-flag language and a 30-day waiting period on NICS delayed transfers. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott who said he would not agree to a waiting period of that length. Lawmakers knew they were short the votes necessary to override a veto, so they did a “strike all” on another bill (S.4) and passed a 7-day waiting period on NICS delayed transfers. The Governor eventually signed that bill despite our opposition.
There were a couple bright spots. The Legislature passed S.184 by Sen. Joe Benning (R) to correct a problem created by a bill last year that amended the justifiable homicide statute and ended protections for coming to the aid of someone who is under threat of death or great bodily harm. S.184 reversed last year’s actions and reestablished legal protections for coming to the aid of others.
Lawmakers also amended S.281 which started out as an anti-hunting bill. The bill was amended to regulate coyote hunting the same way bear hound hunting is regulated. More importantly, an amendment was added that allows suppressor hunting in Vermont. Even though the provision sunsets in two years, it was a major victory secured by NRA A+ rated Rep. Pat Brennan who has fought tirelessly on this issue for several years.
Vermont gun owners know that adjournment is merely a pause, and not an end, to the onslaught of infringements that have become all too common in Montpelier in recent years. However, every freedom-loving Vermonter should remember that one day every two years, we get to offer feedback. It’s called an election! They are done, and now it’s your turn to speak! Speak loudly in November.